L.A. firefighters return from rescue trip to Nepal


The last seven members of the Los Angeles County Fire Department’s rescue team — and their six search dogs — returned home Sunday after nearly three weeks in Nepal.

The crew will reunite with their families at the department’s Technical Operation Facility in Pacoima and will then head home for a few days of rest, officials said.

The crew had been working with the Nepal government and another U.S. search and rescue team based in Fairfax, Va., in the wake of the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck the Himalayan country on April 25, officials said. More than 8,000 people were killed.


The L.A. and Fairfax teams are the only two groups in the U.S. that are qualified to do international search and rescue, according to L.A. County Fire Inspector Chris Reade.

During their time in Nepal the firefighters helped uncover a teenage boy who was trapped for six days beneath a pile of rubble in Katmandu. The boy, who worked as a hotel employee, suffered only minor cuts and scrapes, as well as dehydration.

“It was our first rescue and it was a big deal because up until that point, the Nepal government hadn’t found any live survivors,” Reade said.

The firefighters also helped rescue a woman from the second earthquake that struck the country on May 12.

“Those were the two major rescues,” Reade said. “There are a lot of fatalities over there.”

The LAFD sent a total of 57 people to Nepal including two doctors, one structural engineer and 53 firefighters.


Most of the team returned to Los Angeles on Wednesday, but these last seven people were were not able to get on the same flight as the rest of the group because they were traveling with dogs.

“These dogs and their handlers live together, they go to the fire station together, they are inseparable,” Reade said.

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